Monday, October 26, 2015

Wounds that time won't heal: Gay youth and minority stress

Little research has been conducted on the unique "minority stress" endured by LGBT/Q youth--and the far-reaching health consequences into adulthood.

In this paper by AThousandMoms.Org, we take a look at stress, trauma and their unique effects on gay youth. Dr. Bill Buffie, a consultant to AThousandMoms.Org, writes in the paper:

This sexual-minority status, as explained by Riggle and Rostosky, is defined by a culture of devaluation, including overt and subtle prejudice and discrimination, [one that] creates and reinforces the chronic, everyday stress that interferes with optimal human development and well-being.

LGBT individuals, stigmatized by negative societal attitudes directed at the essence of their being, struggle on a daily basis to balance the dual dangers of publicly engaging their need for equality and validation and remaining closeted to find some calm through an escape from public scrutiny. Many gay persons internalize such discrimination and prejudice. Fractured social-support mechanisms and minority-stress–associated low self-esteem contribute to a high prevalence of self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse, suicide, and risky sexual behavior.

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